Starting your own business takes planning, learning on your feet, patience, and lots of work. Learning curves and unexpected challenges are bound to arise. This is what we like to call, growing pains.
In celebration of Illumine8 Marketing & PR turning 5 years old this week, Founder and CMO Christina May answers questions about the different challenges our inbound marketing company has faced throughout the past few years on I8’s Monday Marketing Q&A.
Catch the entire video on Facebook Live, here:
Question 1: What was Illumine8’s most challenging, yet rewarding, growing pain?
CMay: Finessing internal processes.
Focusing on internal processes has been a challenge over the years, since this is something that's easily put off to the side or last, especially when you put clients and their projects first, which is often the case. Research and development, and internal development go off to the side, especially when you’re just getting started. You’re usually smaller and nimbler, and things move fast with new clients and getting projects off the ground.
As your company matures and grows, these internal processes tend to become the backbone of your agency. Making internal processes a priority is something we've been working on throughout the years.
The adage of “slowing down to speed up” becomes apparent when you pause to focus on the details, work out the kinks, and get the process right, once and for all. This allows us to grow by improving our own work, as well as our clients’ work. It's been incredibly rewarding to see how how far we've come.
Question 2: What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
CMay: Think big.
This goes for anybody who's an entrepreneur or wants to build their own company and take it to the next level. Take a moment to look at your company as a whole, as well as the ideas that you have for it in the future.
A lot changes over the course of a growing business. What you start off doing, or what you originally have in mind for your company, isn’t always what you end up doing. It’s important to not just think big, but also be nimble, flexible, and prepared.
As a business owner, you must be ready to deconstruct your whole idea for your company, break down everything that got you to where you are currently, and build on it to get you to the next level.
Question 3: Every business is different. How can I learn how to solve my growing pain?
CMay: Be humble and own your craft.
The best thing you can do is be humble about it. Going into business as a know-it-all will turn off customers. There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. You should learn what your company’s weaknesses are and find ways to improve on them. Asking for feedback and constructive criticism is a great start. Taking that advice and feedback into consideration, and learning from it, is invaluable.
A foundational element of a business is being good at your craft. Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, talks about the art of creativity, and the idea that so many people place emphasis on being original or creating something completely original, rather than just being good at the craft itself. The idea of “new” overshadows this all too often.
Customers and clients want consistency out of products and services. This is what wins in the business world. Breaking barriers with new concepts is great, but doing what you do, and doing it well is by far the best area to focus on.
Own your craft, no matter what it is.
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